Dr Martin Stervander
I am an evolutionary biologist driven by a curiosity of how the patterns of nature’s diversity can be explained. Why do some lineages radiate into several niche specialists whereas others remain as a single generalist lineage? Why are some species range-restricted while other have a global distribution? What factors can explain—and predict(?)—the outcome when closely related taxa meet, leading to homogenisation of the lineages, or character displacement and/or reinforcement? How are these processes of differentiation, which can be readily observed in the phenotype, reflected at a molecular level? And, contrary to differentiation, are convergent phenotypes due to similar selective pressures in distantly related lineages also converging at the genomic level?
With my background as a birdwatcher and naturalist, I have a broad interest in ecology and evolution. My PhD at Lund University focused on speciation in birds, a postdoc project at the University of Oregon, funded by the Swedish Research Council, dealt with the development and evolution of craniofacial morphology in syngnathid fish. In addition to those two fields, I have also dabbled in bird migration ecology, the impact of climate change on phenology, and genome evolution.
Within my project as Marie Curie Fellow at the Natural History Museum, I explore the fascinating family of rails, an often secretive group of birds that has an incredible propensity for dispersal, ending up virtually every little island across the oceans. If there are no mammal predators present, the island rails tend to evolve towards loss of flight, a process that seems (evolutionarily speaking) rapid, and which has happened over and over again, in different lineages. Using a "museomics" approach, drawing on the strengths of natural collections and modern high-throughput sequencing techniques, I will explore if the convergent evolution towards flight loss is also converging at a genomic level, or if many different paths lead to the same end result.
PhD, Lund University, Sweden
MSc, Lund University, Sweden
Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow, Natural History Museum, United Kingdom, 2020 - 2022
Swedish Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Oregon, United States, 2017 - 2020
Postdoctoral researcher, Linnaeus University, Sweden, 2016 - 2016
Chaves JA, Martinez-Torres PJ, Depino EA, Espinoza-Ulloa S, García-Loor J, Beichman A, Stervander M (null) Evolutionary history of the Galápagos Rail revealed by ancient mitogenomes and modern samples. null, doi: 10.1101/2020.10.07.326983
Chaves JA, Martinez-Torres PJ, Depino EA, Espinoza-Ulloa S, García-Loor J, Beichman AC, Stervander M (null) Evolutionary History of the Galápagos Rail Revealed by Ancient Mitogenomes and Modern Samples. Diversity, 12 (11) : 425 - 425. doi: 10.3390/d12110425
Stervander M, Cresko WA (2021) A highly contiguous nuclear genome assembly of the mandarinfish Synchiropus splendidus (Syngnathiformes: Callionymidae). G3 Genes|Genomes|Genetics, 11 (12) : doi: 10.1093/g3journal/jkab306
Stervander M, Hansson B, Olsson U, Hulme MF, Ottosson U, Alström P (null) Molecular Species Delimitation of Larks (Aves: Alaudidae), and Integrative Taxonomy of the Genus Calandrella, with the Description of a Range-Restricted African Relic Taxon. Diversity, 12 (11) : 428 - 428. doi: 10.3390/d12110428